The English setter was a puppy mill dog. She lived in a cage so tiny that she could hardly move. Animal wastes fell through the wire floors of the cages above her, causing her coat to take on a yellow cast. She had little human interaction – only what was necessary to keep her alive and bearing litters of pups to be sold in pet stores.

Then one day, she and other dogs at the puppy mill were rescued. She was taken in by Muscatine Humane Society in Iowa. There, at three years old, the dog had enough room to learn to walk.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Rives and her boyfriend, Kris, were ready to add a dog to their family. “We knew we wanted to adopt and so we started looking regularly on Petfinder.”

They saw the rescued English setter, now named Annie, and decided to make the 45-minute drive from their home in East Moline, Ill., to meet the pooch. As a staff person took Annie and the couple to a play area to get acquainted, he related the dog’s story.

“I was both heartbroken and disgusted after hearing what Annie had been through,” Rives says, “but I knew that feeling sorry for her wasn’t going to do her any good.” She knew what would do some good: giving Annie a loving home. “And so we adopted her on the spot.”

The changes in Annie’s life are profound. “These days,” Rives says, “Annie can be found snoring on our bed, walking along the Mississippi River, lounging on the couch, running at the dog park, hanging at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, chewing on her Kong, and most importantly being loved.”

The good days are adding up for Annie, replacing the memories of those early years with happy ones. Life has become beautiful.